Smokey Joe Barton continues to demonstrate that his financial friendship with big energy will lead him to say some of the craziest things one can muster in the aftermath of BP's oil spill disaster.
The Associated Press reports the following during opening testimony with BP's CEO Tony Hayward:
Facing Hayward at the witness table, the Texas Republican congressman said, “I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House” on Wednesday. Barton was referring to the agreement that President Barack Obama announced with BP for establishment of a $20 billion relief fund.
These comments by Barton are as absurd as Rick Perry claiming the oil spill itself was an act of God, and that BP has a stellar safety record. Moreover, Barton felt the need to apologize to BP CEO Hayward, who weeks into this environmental disaster simply “wished” for his life to return to normal. Yeah, you and every other “small” person along the Gulf Coast.
Barton's comments are indicative of the mindset that some Republicans have today that the government should take responsibility, financially and otherwise, for BP's mess. Republican House Leader John Boehner stated just a week ago that the government should also take responsibility for this environmental and economic disaster caused by BP's negligence. The GOP is apparently BP's best friend
Since President Obama has taken office Republicans have utilized scare tactics to instill fear in Americans that the government is attempting to take over every single inch of their lives. Republicans have intimated that Democrats in Congress are escalating a national debt that their Party is equally, if not more, responsible for than anyone. Some Republicans have demanded more fiscal responsibility even though under their leadership they drove the economic car into the ditch. Anything and everything that a Democrat proposes, at least according to entertainers Palin, Limbaugh, and Beck of the Republican Party, is a step toward Communism, Nazism, and whatever other “ism” they see fit to fabricate in order to galvanize extreme sentiments amongst their base.
As Rick Perry's comments were about a month ago, and John Boehner's were last week, Joe Barton's ridiculous comments and assertions are dangerous and ignorant. They are counterproductive toward efforts to recover from what British Petroleum is clearly responsible for. It's a smack in the face to the small business owners and residents along the Gulf that are grossly affected by this disaster. To stand before his colleagues, and the American people via television, and not only defend BP, but assert that the White House has engaged in mob-like tactics, is simply un-American. Moreover, to apologize to BP—the nerve to apologize to the company responsible for billions of dollars in economic damage to the Gulf Coast region, and a generation's worth of environmental damage—how dare you. Barton is not only un-American he is unfit to serve in Congress and represent the 6th Congressional District in Texas. Barton should apologize to the American people immediately. Anyone with BP's best interests in mind due to the millions of dollars in industry support they receive, and ignoring the interests of the citizens of this country, and the region in which they live, is unfit to hold public office.
Update: A statement from the White House on Barton's outrageous comments.
Update 2: Buy your GOP = BP t-shirts today!
Update 3: From DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan:
“While the President has worked to ensure that BP is held fully accountable to the families and small businesses of the Gulf, Republicans and Joe Barton are proving that they are only accountable to BP and the oil industry. While the President has secured a guarantee of at least $20 billion for Gulf Coast residents, Republicans and Joe Barton have lined their pockets with BP contributions. While the President has gotten BP to rightfully apologize to the American people for their reckless behavior, their inexcusable response and their insulting approach, Republicans are apologizing to BP. Republicans could not have this more backward, and it raises serious questions as to why they are on the side of BP and the oil companies instead of that of the American people. The only people Republicans and Joe Barton should be apologizing to are the people of the Gulf who they've turned their backs on to defend BP.”